Monkeys on tricycles

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Mar 17 07:33:39 MST 2001

This NY Times article might be a "Rosetta Stone" for interpreting the bear
market of 2001. It explains why only one-half of one percent of all website
ads are read. (I take great pride in never having clicked one of these
stupid things, especially the ubiquitous "can you hit the monkey on the
tricycle" ad, whatever it was selling.) This means that a high-flyer like
Yahoo would sooner or later hit the brick wall, as would every "content"
based website like, etc. So when advertising revenue dries up,
Internet startups are forced into bankruptcy. When you have a bankruptcy,
you have fire sales. What these outfits had to sell was PC's, routers and
servers. When this stuff hits the second-hand market, especially at a time
of dwindling demand, there is less of a market for new stuff. That's why
Compaq, CISCO and Sun are not meeting earnings quotas. When these companies
begin to lay off people, there is less demand for SUV's, vacation travel
expenses and new homes. Thus the earnings expectations for Chrysler,
American Airlines and construction companies is effected. All this because
of monkeys on tricycles!


NY Times, March 17, 2001

Web Site Ads, Holding Sway, Start to Blare


Until recently, advertising on the Internet stayed in one place and didn't
speak until spoken to, or at least clicked on.

Now, as even the biggest Internet sites struggle with a sharp decline in ad
revenue, sites are letting their remaining advertisers occupy a much larger
portion of their pages, as well as create ads that move, make noise and
otherwise do whatever it takes to attract attention.

Big advertisers, especially the traditional companies that spend billions
burnishing their images on television, have long complained that the oblong
spaces they have been able to buy on Internet sites are too small to tell a
persuasive story. But most sites were afraid that bigger and bolder
advertisements would irritate their users. Now that sites have plenty of
users and fewer advertisers, their priorities are shifting quickly.

For example, a cork pops out of a Champagne bottle in an advertisement
recently placed atop the movie page of the portal. It bounds
behind the listings and over the reviews and ultimately crashes into an
image of a cremation urn in another ad on the side of the page.

If that's not enough to catch a user's attention, the loud crashing sound
surely is. (Those who click on either ad are whisked to a site selling
videotapes of "Meet the Parents," a movie in which a cork and an urn have
an unfortunate coming together.)

"Too many people involved with the Internet have been too shy about
advertising," said Scott Kurnit, chief Internet officer of Primedia, the
publishing company that bought About .com, the big Web portal he founded.
"The ads are too small and not intrusive enough."

So is redesigning its site to permit larger advertisements and
ones that incorporate 5- to 15- second video clips. As with television,
where ads eat up eight minutes every half-hour to pay for what the viewer
sees, Mr. Kurnit says Web users will need to accept these new types of

"If I'm giving you something of value at no cost, I will charge you with
your time, not your money," he said.

Full article:

Louis Proyect
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